My husband and I walked into the hospital at 7pm on October 6 with the expectation of a successful induction, and a quick and easy delivery.
Little did we know, God had other plans. My labor/delivery experience was not pretty. There was no makeup, no cameras, no beautiful glow that you normally see on these social media posts. It was stressful and scary and one of the hardest things I’ve done so far in my young life.
Being diagnosed with gestational diabetes, my doctors wanted to induce me around 39 weeks and they gave me different options; with me deciding to go with Pitocin and then a foley catheter being inserted in my cervix. This process started close to 10pm sunday night. The Pitocin kickstarted my contractions and that balloon thingy slowly started to help with dilation. To past the time, my husband and I binge watched Marvel movies all night while playing on our iPads, when I wasn’t distracted by the pain. Listening to baby’s strong heartbeat also gave us relief as well. As we moved on into the late nights, the contractions became more intense, and around 2am, my doctor woke up me to break my water because I was already at 3cm. They were hoping by breaking my water, it would speed up the dilation and that I would be ready to have a baby around 6am!
Sounds great right? Just a few more hours.
It was until around 4am that I could not deal with the pain any longer. It was a different kind of pain. Worse than the cramps you would get on your period. My husband and nurse had to talk me into getting the epidural and also tell me that I am not wrong for getting it. I had this image in my head that I wanted to do this process as naturally and quickly as possible and that I would be stronger for it and no one can tell me anything. So, here I am around 4am, with my husband sitting in front of me, while I sat on the edge of my bed while the anesthesiologist preps me for the heavy meds. I felt him create a maze on my back, taping everything in to place. Then I saw my husband’s eyes get bigger. I remember there is a huge needle involved in this process; and then I felt a sharp pain in my spine, which definitely hurt folks. But it wasn’t the big one. My nurse told me I wouldn’t feel that one and I should relax. Then I felt cool liquid flowing through the maze he created on my back. Few minutes later, I went numb and got some shut eye.
Close to 7am, I was still at 3cm dilated and now we’re all having a different conversation: We may have to prepare for a C-section. Excuse me? Come again? I don’t want that. Jesus please help. We can still come out of this. “We still have some time to see how things turn out by noon,” doctors say. Great, because I wasn’t prepared to accept this. We didn’t plan on this alternative. After hours of being probed, stabbed and the nurses having to rotate me every hour, I developed an infection, a fever, and preeclampsia. It didn’t register that on Monday afternoon, I was freezing, shivering, with a headache out of this world. They had to take me off the Pitocin because it was harming the baby. Every time I had a contraction, her heartbeat would spike high to a number we knew wasn’t healthy and when the contraction subsided, her heartbeat dropped even worse. Around 5pm, my doctor informed me with what was going on with the baby but I was so out of it, I had them talk to my husband and my parents but all I heard was, “we’re going to prep you for surgery because your health and baby’s health is first priority.” I had about an hour to get my head in the game because this was going to happen.
Not 10 minutes later, about 5 nurses barged in, along with a few doctors saying, “we’re doing this now.” Of course, I silently sobbed to myself because this is not what I had in mind. But maybe this is what God wants. While they prep me, my husband was asked to “scrub up.” My dad had to give me a few words of encouragement and of course everyone prayed for a successful procedure…Tv shows and movies lie people. I mean we all know that, but let me emphasize how they lie. The procedure room was bright and cold and there wasn’t a spectator’s view either. The operating table was small and I was wondering how my body was going to fit. There was about 15 people in there (ALL WOMEN!!) plus my anesthesiologist from the night before. The big blue sheet is real though, only allowing me to see as far as my chest goes. I felt so exposed. I was strapped down, taped up, with these little compression leg thingy’s on. I felt like Jesus on the cross about to be crucified.
I cried the entire time.
After I was prepped, my husband came and sat on a stool on my left, and a different anesthesiologist on my right. Everyone got quiet and my doctor started talking and before you know it, it was time. Now I was told before that I may feel pinching and pressure throughout the entire procedure, so don’t forget. Boy. Pinching and Pressure? Is that what you call it? I cried the entire time. I was so scared. I felt the pinch of her cutting me open and I felt the pressure of her moving my organs around trying to get to my baby. It hurt. So. Bad. I was so hysterical that my anesthesiologist increased my epidural while rubbing my forehead, and my husband holding my hand. When the extra epidural wasn’t enough, she added morphine and increased that. After the baby came out, I was nowhere near calm and my morphine drip was increased again. When I thought the worse was over, my doctor started putting everything back, my organs, my uterus, and that pressure may have been worse than everything else. Here my husband was beside me, with baby in tow and I couldn’t look at her. I didn’t want to. I was in to much pain. And then…I passed out.
I am here to tell those that a cesarean is not an alternative to avoid delivery pain. There’s this idea floating on the internet that a c-section is the easy way out. It is major surgery. Doctors do not recommend this unless they absolutely have to. You are literally being cut open, organs are being shifted, baby is being moved and tugged to safety. The aftermath is just as intense. The “belly massages” they give you to massage the uterus is the absolute worse. The first one they did, I yelled and gave my newborn baby a bear hug ( I was holding her). You can’t lift anything or do much of anything for the first 6 weeks at least. Laughing and coughing was so painful, I never realized how many muscles you use to laugh or cough.
Here I am over a month later, still trying to grasp and understand the experience. People expect you to just be happy and accept that “but they’re so worth it,” that you forget to think about you. Would I do this again? Are babies really worth the pain and worry? More of this will be discussed in my postpartum post that will be coming soon, but I can tell you that my husband and I are truly excited to introduce and welcome baby Harper Celeste to the world!
Before you ask, nope, no heartburn.